Paul R. Gagnon, Ph.D. is this week’s #RacerScholar

prgagnonheadnshoulders_1Professor Gagnon is this week’s #RacerScholar for contributing to the article, “How livestock and flooding mediate the ecological integrity of working forests in Amazon River floodplains,” in the January 2016 edition of Ecological Applications.


The contribution of working forests to tropical conservation and
development depends upon the maintenance of ecological integrity under
ongoing land use. Assessment of ecological integrity requires an
understanding of the structure, composition, and function and major
drivers that govern their variability. Working forests in tropical river
floodplains provide many goods and services, yet the data on the
ecological processes that sustain these services is scant. In flooded
forests of riverside Amazonian communities, we established 46 0.1-ha
plots varying in flood duration, use by cattle and water buffalo, and
time since agricultural abandonment (30-90 yr). We monitored three
aspects of ecological integrity (stand structure, species composition,
and dynamics of trees and seedlings) to evaluate the impacts of
different trajectories of livestock activity (alleviation, stasis, and
intensification) over nine years. Negative effects of livestock
intensification were solely evident in the forest understory, and plots
alleviated from past heavy disturbance increased in seedling density but
had higher abundance of thorny species than plots maintaining low
activity. Stand structure, dynamics, and tree species composition were
strongly influenced by the natural pulse of seasonal floods, such that
the defining characteristics of integrity were dependent upon flood
duration (3-200 d). Forests with prolonged floods >= 140 d had not only
lower species richness but also lower rates of recruitment and species
turnover relative to forests with short floods < 70 d. Overall, the
combined effects of livestock intensification and prolonged flooding
hindered forest regeneration, but overall forest integrity was largely
related to the hydrological regime and age. Given this disjunction
between factors mediating canopy and understory integrity, we present a
subset of metrics for regeneration and recruitment to distinguish forest
condition by livestock trajectory. Although our study design includes
confounded factors that preclude a definitive assessment of the major
drivers of ecological change, we provide much-needed data on the
regrowth of a critical but poorly studied ecosystem. In addition to its
emphasis on the dynamics of tropical wetland forests undergoing
anthropogenic and environmental change, our case study is an important
example for how to assess of ecological integrity in working forests of
tropical ecosystems.

coverHow livestock and flooding mediate the ecological integrity of working forests in Amazon River floodplains
By Christine M. Lucas, Pervaze Sheikh, Paul R. Gagnon and David G. McGrath
Ecological Applications: Jan 2016, vol. 26 (1), pgs. 190-202
DOI: 10.1890/14-2182


‘Making Conflict Work,’ by Peter T. Coleman & Robert Ferguson is the #NewBookoftheWeek!


Our #NewBookoftheWeek is Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement. The book is available on the “New Book Shelf” in Waterfield Library.

Conflicts at work are as inevitable as they are frustrating. In Making Conflict Work, Peter Coleman and Robert Ferguson’s leading experts in the field of conflict resolution address the key role of power in workplace tension. Whether you’re butting heads with your boss or addressing a direct report’s complaint, your relative position of power affects how you approach conflict.

Coleman and Ferguson explain how power dynamics function, with step-by-step guidance to determining your standing in a conflict and identifying and applying the strategies that will lead to the best resolution. Drawing on the authors’ years of research and consulting experience, the book gives readers effective strategies for negotiating disputes at all levels of an organization.

Making Conflict Work includes self-assessment exercises and action plans to guide managers, mediators, consultants, and attorneys through any conflict. This powerful approach can turn workplace tensions into catalysts for creativity, innovation, and meaningful change.

– from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Gerry N. Muuka, Ph.D. and Bellarmine A. Ezumah, Ph.D. are our #RacerScholars this week!


Gerry Muuka
Professor Muuka
Professor Ezumah

Professors Muuka and Ezumah from the Arthur J. Bauernfeind  College of Business are our #RacerScholars this week. They co-wrote chapter 3, “Regional economic integration and corporate Africa in the 21st century: A focus on COMESA,” of The Routledge Companion to Business in Africa

From the Google Books preview of
The Routledge Companion to Business in Africa


Regional economic integration and corporate Africa in the 21st century: A focus on COMESA
By Gerry N. Muuka and Bellarmine A. Ezumah
Book Series: Routledge Companions in Business Management and Accounting
2015, The Routledge Companion to Business in Africapgs. 32-69

MSU Featured Scholar: Dr. Teresa Betts

Dr. Teresa Betts, assistant Professor of Management at Murray State University, is our featured scholar this week. Dr. Betts co-authored the paper, “Beyond the trade-off and cumulative capabilities models: alternative models of operations strategy,” which appeared in volume 53, issue 13, of the International Journal of Production Research.


Organisations are expected to develop sound strategies relating to their core operations capabilities of cost efficiency, quality, delivery, flexibility and innovation, to gain and maintain competitive advantage. However, there is a paucity of specific models that can be used to explain and predict how organisations combine and use these capabilities. Previous research has primarily focused on the ‘trade-off’ and the ‘cumulative capabilities’ models. In this study, data from an international sample of 1438 manufacturing plants are used to explore other models that organisations are using in addition to the two predominant models. This analysis shows that, in practice, the trade-off model is not used, but the cumulative capabilities model is used extensively. Further, our proposed new models, the ‘threshold’, ‘average’ and ‘multiple’, are prevalent in many plants. Also, a small proportion of the plants have in place the ‘uncompetitive’ model. In terms of relative effectiveness, there are no significant differences between the models with respect to several measures of operational performance. Overall, this study provides empirical evidence that there are other operations strategy models beyond the trade-off and cumulative capabilities dichotomy that organisations deploy.

Beyond the trade-off and cumulative capabilities models: alternative models of operations strategy
By: Prakash J. Singh, Frank Wiengarten,
Alka A. Nand, and Teresa Betts
International Journal of Production Research
July 2015, vol. 53 (13), pgs. 4001-4020
doi: 10.1080/00207543.2014.983277